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    Summer Skin Hazards

    Summer is full of vacations, cookouts, and beach trips. All that time outside can take a toll on your skin, though.

    Here's what you can do to avoid or treat some common problems.

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    Sunburns

    They're uncomfortable, to be sure. But they can also cause premature aging and lead to skin cancer.

    Your best bet is to limit how much sun you get -- especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when those rays are at their strongest.

    Follow these simple steps, too:

    • Apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of skin about 30 minutes before you go outside. Look for a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.
    • Put on more screen every 2 hours while you’re in the sun, or right after swimming or sweating.
    • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
    • Use a lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher.
    • If you get a sunburn, take a cool shower or bath, and use a moisturizer or an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream. It should ease the fiery feeling.

    Call your doctor right away if you have:

    • Blisters
    • Fever
    • Extreme pain
    • Swelling of the face
    • A large area that’s sunburned

    Get emergency care if you notice symptoms of:

    Bug Bites

    From mosquitoes to chiggers, insects can chomp into your summertime fun. But you can avoid them or at least keep the pesky pains they cause to a minimum.

    Avoid brushy areas and high grass. If you can’t stay away from it, wear long pants and sleeves, and tuck your pant legs into your socks.

    Don’t wear bright colors, perfume, or other strong scents when you go outside.

    Use insect repellent when you’re in wooded or brushy areas. Products with DEET or picaridin as active ingredients tend to protect you longer. But don't use them on children younger than 3 years old.

    Oil of lemon eucalyptus gives you protection similar to products with low concentrations of DEET, studies show. DEET should protect you from ticks and mosquitoes, the CDC says. Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus offer some defense against mosquitoes only. Follow the directions carefully.

    Check for ticks after you’ve been outdoors.

    If you get bitten, treat it quick if you can. A cold compress or an ice pack will curb the swelling.

    For help with itchy bites, use calamine lotion, an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, or an antihistamine.

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